Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We Love Halloween!

I had to miss the school parade this year - working freelance and just can't justify a day with no pay! I did get to take Mae and her friends trick-or-treating. (Leo went with his friend Craig). I made Leo's costume this weekend, and gave him a mohawk last night. Marc is responsible for the simple but effective make-up job. By 6pm all of our candy is gone - a typical Halloween night!

Mae took care of her costume this year. She found the perfect boots at the thrift store - and we got the white blouse there too. She did her hair, make-up and styling. Go Mae!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hat #2 on Girl #1

Bethany's hat size is a full inch smaller than mine, so Mae is my model for her finished hat. She chose the pagoda print for the lining. I'm very happy with the way it came out. I gather the sides of the hat, but not on the front panel - this keeps it looking smooth. I also line the band with the lining fabric, rather than the hat fabric. I find this makes the hat more comfortable.

Mae will be 10 tomorrow - I can hardly believe that it's been 10 years since she was born! She was a sweet easy baby, and her first 2 weeks are still the happiest days I have ever spent. I know there is a little bit of rose colored glass viewing going on - but I really was hormonally over the moon. I remember where I was (walking her in Lincoln Square, our old neighborhood) when I realized that the extreme happiness was fading into regular life. Regular life has been pretty good to me since then too...

Monday, October 15, 2007

My First Commissioned Hat!

I finished Beckress' hat this weekend. I'm really happy with the way it came out. I had never used twill for one of my hats, but it's not so different from the fabrics I have worked with. Because of the relative firmness of twill, it has a less "floppy" look, for this reason I didn't use any topstitching - I liked the tailored look, and was afraid the topstitching would distract from the clean lines. I posted 2 ribbon choices on flickr - B chose the polka dots, my preference too. I am sending it off to tomorrow, and will anxiously await word - I hope
she likes it!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Practically Necessary Woven Labels

A lot of people have asked me about my labels lately. I ordered them from Cruz Label in LA. When I started building my business last year I was able to do much of the work: I designed the logo, built the website, and obviously create the product. I felt that the look of the label was critical - I take so much pride in my sewing that I wanted a label that reflected that. That's a long way of saying that they weren't cheap - they cost more than than my precious sewing machine!

The process went like this: Cruz will send you a sample card with all of the different weaves and styles they offer. I chose one and then sent them an Illustrator file and specified PMS (pantone matching system) colors. Cruz will give you a woven "proof" to make sure it's just right. My first try with colors was a little off (the cream had a green cast) and I tried another color. That color was just right - I got exactly what I wanted and I am still thrilled with them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Best Work

This is my best hat yet. The fabric (a wool linen blend) is perfect for a hat - it has body and a nice drape. It has good shape and takes to pressing beautifully. I am especially pleased with the interior on this one. It's my bird fabric again, with some wonderful plaid ribbon trimmed with red ric-rac (Vogue Fabric). When you make something from fabric you have never worked with you never know how it's going to turn out. This wool made a beautiful vest and hat, but the skirt pattern I chose was not so successful. It fits in with my "2 out of 3" ratio for success. For every 2 successful garments, there is usually 1 failure. I take these failures more in stride than I used to, I figure it's just par for the course. Usually I let myself think that it might work out afterall, that when I wear it I'll see that I was wrong - but this almost never really happens. The skirt is on my in progress rack (unhemmed), and I am still hopeful that when I hem it and put it on it will look better than I remembered. We'll just see about that...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Vintage Lining/Hats in Progress

I finally made it to Vogue Fabrics to get the twill for the custom hats I am making. I took samples of the vintage lining fabric I will be using so I could coordinate the ribbon bands, and to show my fabric guy. He figures they are from the late 50s, early 60s (the realism of the art combined with the colors) and was impressed - exactly the reaction I was hoping for! I found these 2 lining fabrics together at a thrift store in Evanston - about 5 yards of each for $12 total. I did use a good bit of the birds as the back for the vest shown above. I still have about 2 yards of that one. The pagoda print is still at about 4 yards. I pay as much attention to the inside of the hats I make as I do the outside, so I love to find vintage linings. I am looking forward to finishing these 2 hats (hopefully by Friday), I will post before I ship!

Here's the front of the vest in case you were curious!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Back to Work

I think I'd better blog about something other than a change purse (it's been a few, I know) I have two hat orders right now, I'm glad to say that I just solved one issue I have had with a few of my hats - the amateurish looking brims. With my latest hat I made a corded bias strip and inserted it in the brim. I'm really satisfied with the results.

I'm back to work, not quite full-time, but 9-3 with almost an hour of commuting on either side is pretty close. I really like having a day job and we can't afford for me to be out of work any longer anyway. I have to be very disciplined to get my sewing done. Getting the two hat orders will certainly keep me on task! Many thanks to Bitter Betty and Becktress for placing orders - and helping me get over my concerns about making hats for people other than myself. Results coming soon!